If I was an animal, they would have shot me by now.

When you’re sick as frequently as I am and have bipolar disorder as well, you start wondering if you are making this shit up or something.  Maybe it is “all in your head”.  Or maybe not.

In the last 16 months (since the beginning of 2011), I have had 5 cases of bronchitis or upper respiratory infection, one of which lasted a month and inflamed my chest wall, another which triggered a pinched nerve in my back when I coughed.  So my medical costs in that time period have been through the roof, to say the least.  Not to mention the cost of my psychiatric care.  But that’s another post for another day.  Three of these cases have been in the last 6 months.  And that’s the ones I saw a doctor for.  The severe allergy attacks with similar, but less severe, symptoms were home treated.  Patently, I am getting sick far too often.

Let me tell you how this particular bout started:  I woke up yesterday with a sore throat.  My voice was a little deeper than normal, but not horribly effected.  I went to work and was fine, although I was really tired.  This morning I woke up after 2-3 hours of sleep with the voice of a 30-year, 2 pack-a-day smoker…and it was a man’s voice.  It was only 5:30 or so, but I figured that probably meant a trip to the doctor was in order.  So I called the clinic I belong to because the have all night nurses and they do appointments after hours, too.  After getting the runaround from the answering service, I finally went online to schedule an appointment.  After working for an answering service…and as a matter of fact, answering phones for this clinic, I can only say that the dud was unprofessional!  But, yet another post for a different day.  News to me, I could schedule a same-day appointment.  Glorious!  So I entered all my information, scanned my retina, my fingerprint, all that good stuff.  After everyone else finally woke up for the day, my email ding! told me to go look at it.  Lo and behold, I had a 10:30 appointment!

After a nap, I trundle my not so little self over to the doctor’s office and have a seat in the waiting room.  As soon as I get comfy with my Nook, the nurse calls my name. [Isn’t that always the way?  Can’t they be a little more considerate?  I mean, call me before I start reading or when I finish a chapter.]  But I follow her to the dreaded scale.  Which says I am pretty close to the same weight I was the last time, so yay.  This pretty little nurse (I liked her scrubs, they were the fancy, expensive type) asks me all these invasive questions and I answer her truthfully (I can tell the truth!  😉 ).  Then she does the temp thing.  She doesn’t really tell me but she does say 98.8 as she walks to the paperwork so she can write it down.  For those who know me well, you know that is pretty high for me.  I generally run about 98.1.  So if I had the same temperature difference from a 98.6 base, I would have had a low-grade fever of 99.3.  Not a good thing as I don’t run fevers unless I am really sick.  She takes my blood pressure (bonus for her as apparently it is a quiet little bugger and many machines and nurses cannot hear it) and it is 124 over 70.  Pretty normal for me.  After my exhaustive list of drug and medical allergies (how many people do you know that are allergic to paper tape?), the nice nurse leaves to give the paperwork to her overworked doctor.

And in walks the overworked doctor.  I assume he is overworked because he is running late and he doesn’t read my paperwork that the nice nurse wrote out so neatly for him.  He starts asking me the same questions and I explain everything to him.  I am used to this, having seen different doctors eleventy-million times in the last several years.  He puts his smart hat on after he examines me and tells me, well, we need to give you Z-pak (and now I know he didn’t read the paperwork).  I gently explain to him that I cannot take it because it makes me vomit uncontrollably.  So he picks a different, less effective, antibiotic and asks me if I’ve taken that okay, and I have.  yay.

Now he goes into my cough.  Which is rather deep, painful and causing chest pain.  He wants to give me a cough syrup that will get the receptors causing the cough to relax.  I ask him if this cough syrup contains hydrocodone and he tells me of course.  I break it to him as gently as possible that I cannot take his cough syrup since I am allergic to hydrocodone.  He looks at me as if I am a particularly irritating bug under his microscope.  I explicate by telling him it makes me suicidal in three doses (this has absolutely nothing to do with my bipolar disorder, but a reaction to the depressant in and of itself).  Now he looks offended as he pontificates as to why the alternative medication without codeine or hydrocodone won’t work well for a long-standing cough.  So I remind him that although I have had a cough, I haven’t had this cough very long, only since this morning.  So he looks at me as though I have restored a grain of his faith in the pharmacy and medical industries and tell me the alternative medicine should work just fine.

I ask him if I need to stay home from work.  Initially he says that I should be fine, but goes on to say how after I have the antibiotic in my system, I should be fine.  So I smile and tell him I work 2nd shift.  He tilts his pretty little brilliant head at me and asks what that means.  So I tell him I work at 3pm.  Then he tells me he will get me a note because I shouldn’t go in until tomorrow.  He goes to call in my prescription (two others on top of the antibiotic and cough suppressant) while his pretty nurse writes my excuse for work.

Now that I am done, I trundle over to my neighborhood CVS.  And honestly, this CVS really is run like your neighborhood pharmacy.  I am talking to the girl about the fact that I should have some meds that were just called in, and, after verifying who I am, she starts trying to find them.  The pharmacist behind her mentions that they just came in.  So she asks me if I want to wait for them (uh…yeah), and I politely inquire as to whether we can add my maintenance meds as I am almost out.  So yay, they add them on and I go to wait.  I do go get a couple drinks and some plain Cheerios because I’m a little nauseous.

After sitting for a bit and being stared at when I have the gall to cough like an aging foghorn.  They call my name.  So the same girl asks me how she can help, so I tell her they called my name.  She looks around for a moment to find the medications.  The nice pharmacist behind her points out, it’s the big bag there.  Yep. I have graduated to the larger brown paper bag.  Not the grocery-sized one (please, let me be a little older for that one), but the one a step down from there, but a step up from their little white bags of normalcy.  I am not looking forward to paying for this, but at least I have insurance, so it should be halfway reasonable.  I mean, $35 is my maintenance meds.  It’s not too bad until she gets to the Advair (which is still under patent and trademark by GlaxoSmithKilne).  Barring pennies and stuff, they want $60 for it!  And yes, that is after insurance.  So I sigh and pay for my $125 of  medication.  [Honestly, for that much, it damn well better not fit in a little white bag of normalcy.]

I pause in my trundling toward home to pick up soup and such.  After I walk in the door, I set everything down and put the cold stuff away.  Instead of face-planting on the bed as I would prefer, I make myself something to eat.  I know I need to eat with these meds (really with any meds with a fucked up stomach like mine), so I make some soup and munch on my Cheerios.  Being a good girl, I take all my meds as I was told.  I call my boss again because I didn’t get a chance to talk to him when I left the message that I wouldn’t be in today.  He’s a nice boss, so he has no problems with this and listens as I tell him my tale of woe (much edited from this or I would still be talking to him).  He is understanding and says he will talk to me tomorrow.

I have eaten, taken meds, talked to my boss, got a talk with my Mom in there, it is now officially time for TAOTBB to pass out.  So I did.

For those that are concerned, when I woke up, I made the request for an appointment with an allergist online since it was after 5.  I am about to eat again.  I really am trying to take care of myself since I hate being sick and losing work.  Not only that, but what I paid for prescriptions pretty much equaled the pay I lost.  So it’s like losing 1 day for the price of 2.  yay.


~ by theartistryofthebipolarbrain on April 19, 2012.

8 Responses to “If I was an animal, they would have shot me by now.”

  1. I’m sorry you had such a sucky day! I hope you’ll feel much better tomorrow. I think the cost of medication is ridiculous, personally. I wonder what the Advair was before insurance?? Oh, and I’m glad you have insurance!
    Take care my friend.

    • I am very glad I have insurance as well. Back in August I had the worst case of bronchitis I talked about and I didn’t have insurance then. Two trips to the ER and one to a walk-in clinic are very expensive. I am feeling better today, although still not 100%.

  2. take a nice hot bath and eat your soup. Do you have one of those gagets that you plug in and fill with water (not in the order) and let it fill the room with hot steam to loosen up your sinuses? That is something I always use. It’s a humidifier, yeah thats it! Anyway girl, I will be praying for you. Oh and Im 46 and I smoked 2 packs of cigarettes at age thirty and I have never gotten that somokers voice. Thank God I don’t smoke anymore so hopefully I will never have it lol.

    • I did take care of myself yesterday and am planning on a long hot shower before work to loosen things up. I am also glad you no longer smoke as my grandmother passed away from emphysema. *hug* I am mostly concerned about the multiple bouts of bronchitis. I was diagnosed with “bronchial allergies” years ago. Apparently they aren’t asthma…but like a super light cousin or something. But since my grandmother had emphysema and my mom has smoked all of my life, of which I spent a large majority living with her or spending a lot of time with her, she and I are both worried about that. I am waiting to hear back from the office about the allergist appointment, but I am scared the doctor will send me to a pulmonologist. Which terrifies me, even though it really shouldn’t.

  3. Blimey, that does not sound fun. I’m going offline for a while (for the sake of my exams), so I just wanted to offer month-and-a-half-long hugs in case they’re needed at any point! Hope it’s been better since then 🙂

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